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This machine, a variation on the hanging-pen plotter is a conspicuous and wilfully naive attempt to break out of the pristine, pixel perfect, colour-corrected space that exists inside our computers. It's a drawing machine, that takes a pen (a human tool) and uses it to draw in a singularly robotic way, with some grand results.

It doesn't draw at all like we would (though it could), and we would struggle to draw exactly as it does (though we could).

It can draw on things bigger than itself - the question is really "how long is a piece of string?" when it comes to working out it's maximum area.

It's easier to look at what it does, than to explain it, so just have a look.


Step 1: History

Well there have been lots of new drawing machines doing the rounds lately, there's a real thirst to see devices that leap out of the virtual into the
physical. For me, it's all too easy to produce digital things which are interesting - programming or mash-ups or virtual experiments are devalued because they are intangible, you can run a hundred, a thousand, a million variations in a day - it's the proverbial roomful of monkeys with typewriters. The output becomes disposable, it get's hard to see the value, the craft.

So 3D printers and other desktop manufacturing tools and technologies (laser cutters etc) have got more and more popular, it's hard to overestimate how much hunger there is for a tangible, physical, touchable, smellable product of all this clever-clever digital work.

So this isn't wholly original, check out this prior art for more inspiration:

Hektor - the daddy of all hanging drawing machines
Der Kritzler - the smartest one yet
AS220 Drawbot - the basis for mine
SADBot - Instructable for an automatic drawing machine on the same pattern by Dustyn Roberts

But this is the original Polargraph! The term is a portmanteau word invented for this instructable, and it has caught on. People who don't know their drawbot history often use the word to describe any hanging-v plotter, but it is actually means something very specific: A machine that runs the Polargraph software.

Mostly based on the success of this instructable, I started a little workshop making Polargraph parts, and the next-generation Polargraph gear (PolargraphSD). Couple of links below:


Polargraph website
Polargraph wiki and code
Flickr stuff

<p>When I move vector it won't release when I click. Weird. </p>
<p>Figured it out. One has to Select Area and Set frame to Area before placing vectors. </p>
<p>Thanks for a great tutorial! More details on </p><p>http://pappmaskin.no/2016/08/pen-plotter-1/</p>
<p>Hello euphy!</p><p>i loved this proyect!</p><p>i have one problem though... in my &quot;powerfull&quot; laptop it works great, everything</p><p>then i try a netbook or basically any other computer and it stays in busy (when trying to upload sizes to the machine) for over one second, even though, if i SET HOME , it doesnt compute, and it doesnt change place, i tried changing the cable, reinstalling arduino, reinstalling java, (i need to try picking another serial library for processing, though my powerfull laptop doesnt have it and still works), i need to check if the arduino co processor requires diferent drivers, great job BTW</p>
<p>Hey Euphy,</p><p>I've build my own polargrpah using Arduino Uno and two steppers( Nema 17) but it seems that something is off. I have checked my measurements and configurations 5 times (step by step with this tutorial) and it all seems correctnut for some reason the machine is still off (doesn't go to where it suppose to, doesn't come back to where it was suppose to and goes off the page).<br>When I upload the machine specs I get this error message:<br>E14:15:00 C25, PGXXABCD,END not recognized.</p><p>this happens every time I try to upload and I couldn't find the reason or meaning of it, could you help me?</p>
The error is nothing to worry about - just an old command that doesn't do anything any more.
<p>The machine is still off. What else can be the problem??</p>
<p>Euphy,</p><p>New Problem. Well two actaully.</p><p>First, when I so a pen tip test it prints out super small not matter how much I change the setting.</p><p>Second, I am assuming also pen size related is that the lines it draws in the on pixel areas are really close together. When is gets to detail areas it just ends up filling in solid because I have not been able to figure out what the right setting are.</p>
Show me a pic of what you mean by super small. Small pixel, or small lines, or small spaces - you need to consider how you might expect me to be able to help based on what you state as the problem.<br><br>&quot;No matter How much you change the setting&quot; - which setting? Does the pixel density (the number of lines) change at all?<br><br>Are you using a very small grid size?<br><br>
<p>Euphy,</p><p>Here it what it looks like when I try to do a pen tip test and my settings. Not sure what I have done wrong.</p>
<p>i have the same problem... if you found the solution can you help?</p>
<p>Did you read my reply below?</p>
<p>yes i made those changes, but it wont work also my machine drawing things horizontally, instead of virtically </p>
<p>https://github.com/euphy/polargraph/wiki/It's-going-the-wrong-way!</p>
<p>yes and this is one sample !</p>
<p>this is the drawing of that picture, it just drawing lines of it</p>
<p>http://www.instructables.com/id/Polargraph-Drawing-Machine/step18/Finish-configuring-your-controller/</p><p>Is the step with the machine settings in it.</p>
<p>thanks Euphy all things working fine... </p>
<p>The messages up the right-hand-side of your screen: they mean something. &quot;You probably won't get any detail ...&quot; means that with your pen size (which is huge, 4.12mm tip), you can't fit any waves into your grid. Your pen tip is potentially larger than your grid size.</p><p><a href="https://github.com/euphy/polargraph/wiki/Empty-pixels" rel="nofollow">https://github.com/euphy/polargraph/wiki/Empty-pix...</a></p><p>I seem to have lost the step that shows the settings though .. that's weird.</p><p>For Adafruit motorshield v1:</p><p>STEPS PER REV is 2x your motor steps per rev. So if you have 200 step motors, then set STEPS PER REV to 400.</p><p>STEP MULTIPLIER is 1.</p><p>Remember to do a &quot;upload machine spec&quot; too.</p><p>It looks like you've got a slightly sloppy gondola too, perhaps the pen is sticking too far out of the holder, so it doesn't cleanly translate the cord movement into pen movement.</p><p>sn</p>
<p>I almost did every thing correct, re-measurement and all but it still drawing lines of any picture, can you share configuration file or .svg file if you have of any picture!</p>
<p>How will an SVG help?</p><p>You've made all the adjustments suggested in </p><p><a href="https://github.com/euphy/polargraph/wiki/Empty-pixels#solution" rel="nofollow">https://github.com/euphy/polargraph/wiki/Empty-pix...</a></p><p>Small pen, large pixels?</p><p>Does drawing vector art work?</p><p>Does &quot;draw box outline&quot; work? </p><p>What error messages are you seeing next to the command queue?</p>
<p>SVG wont help, i need configuration file to configure my machine according to which i m gonna rebuilt it if it doesn't work</p><p>ye i almost made all the adjustments</p><p>no, vector art work do not working</p><p>neither draw box outline working</p><p>E02:14:04 C25,PGXXABCD,END not recorg.</p><p>for vector E02 :13:50 this point falls outside the machine, skipping it</p><p>for box outline E02:17:24 line not on the page skipping it</p>
<p>Ok, &quot;this point falls outside the machine&quot; and &quot;line not on the page skipping it&quot;.</p><p>These both mean either:</p><p>Machine is not set up (do this with &quot;upload machine spec&quot;)</p><p>or</p><p>Home point is not set (do this with &quot;set home&quot;)</p><p>or both.</p><br><p>Every time you change the machine size, or motor settings you must &quot;upload machine spec&quot;.</p><p>Every time you turn the machine on, you must &quot;set home&quot;.</p><p>When you say you &quot;almost made all the adjustments&quot;, which ones did you _not_ make?</p><p>Someone else's configuration file would have their machine size and their motor settings in - how would it be useful to you?</p>
<p>i will design my machine according to those parameters, kinda reverse enginering </p>
<p>Euphy,</p><p>Here it what it looks like when I try to do a pen tip test and my settings. Not sure what I have done wrong.</p>
<p>Nothing wrong as such, but:</p><p>- Grid size is very very small. There is no effective way to express any differences in shade in a pixel that small, because of the thickness of the pen.</p><p>- Gondola is a bit wobbly by the looks of things. Even small details should have sharp corners and regularly curved edges.</p><p>You could try one (or all of):</p><p>- Put your grid size up to 50 and try again. </p><p>- Make sure your pen is not sticking too far out of the gondola, so the tip doesn't trail behind the movement of the gondola. Ideally you want the pen tip barely protruding.</p><p>- Knock your pen acceleration speed down (or up) to try and get some better control in the corners.</p><p>- Add a bit of weight to the gondola to pull the pen more taut</p><p>Pen width test is a great way of testing this though.</p>
<p>Hey Euphy,<br>I've build my own polargrpah using Uno and two steppers but it seems that something is off. I have checked my measurements and configurations 5 times (step by step with this tutorial) and it all seems correct but for some reason the machine is still off (doesn't go to where it suppose to, doesn't come back to where it was suppose to and goes off the page).<br>When I upload the machine specs I get this error message:<br><strong>E14:15:00 C25, PGXXABCD,END not recognized.</strong><br>this happens every time I try to upload and I couldn't find the reason or meaning of it, could you help me?</p>
<p>When trying to test pen widths this is what I got.</p>
<p>Hello, can you help me with this step?</p><ol><li><strong>Install project: </strong>In the code bundle, copy the whole <em><strong>processing-source/polargraphcontroller</strong></em> folder into . </ol><p>Into where? Having problems with the software and I have no idea where you intended to tell us where to put this file.</p>
<p>Aha, I don't know why I'd removed that key part of the sentence, sorry... I've fixed the step.</p><p>The polargraphcontroller folder should be moved into your Processing sketchbook folder.</p>
<p>hey do you think I can built this project using labVIEW and my dec ?? It's really cool </p>
<p>I also plan to use this free standing with a raspberry pi zero and a display, to remove the need for a host PC in outdoor or mobile settings. The controller box is going to be very exciting since I am building it to support up to 4 stepper motors (Connected over a 5-pin MIDI cable, Supports both bipolar and unipolar steppers without wasting pins. MIDI Cables are perfect for this), as well as allow for on-board image processing, and real-time status info on the display.</p>
Controller doesn't really work on raspberry pi, but something lighterweight will run fine. Once the command queue is generated, the load to deliver it is very low.<br><br>https://github.com/euphy/polargraph/wiki/Standalone-command-queue-runner describes a low-cpu method.
<p>Awesome tutorial! I really love the design you used for the gondola, however, I have a question. How do you keep the drawing utensil tightly locked inside the brass tube? I recently started assembling and noticed that there is a bit of movement room even with a full-sized sharpie marker. I thought of possibly using some foam wrap or possibly making the tube longer to add some locking screws in the back. Thanks!</p>
I use this (https://github.com/euphy/polargraph_models/blob/master/Gondola_mod_v4_cutout.STL), which is very like this http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:31973.<br><br>But I used to just use a blob of blu-tack, worked fine!<br><br>sn
<p>In advance thank you very much for your great work ...</p><div><p>I do not know much about programming, but why Processing v.3 gives many errors when running the driver source ?</p></div>
There's lots of changes in Processing 3, so there's lots of work to adapt the code. I haven't done the work.
<p>I'm trying to verify polargraph_server_a1 to push it to my Arduino UNO, but I keep getting this error: polargraph_server_a1:157: error: 'multiplier' was not declared in this scope</p><p>The multiplier function is clearly defined in util.ino, but polargraph_server_a1.ino can't seem to see it. Am I making a basic mistake here?</p>
Nope not a mistake here, but there was a change brought in in the Arduino IDE v1.6.6 and later that broke some things, and this is one of them. There is a fix for it in the main repository (https://github.com/euphy/polargraph_server_a1), but it's not been bundled up for a official release yet. There's no reason not to use it though, if you can get it downloaded.<br><br>Workaround is just to use ARduino v1.6.5 for a bit longer.<br><br>sn
Can I use a Arduino uni R3?
<p>The Polargraph firmware works on an Arduino UNO.</p>
Can you send a circuit diagram of the polargraph
<p>Please don't spam the comments section. I would recommend you start with a more simple project to introduce you to Arduino, I can't help you with such basic questions.</p><p><a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Beginner-and-Basic-Electronics-Kit-Primer/," rel="nofollow">http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Beginner-a...</a> or </p><p><a href="https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-motor-shield" rel="nofollow">https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-motor-shield</a></p>
Can you send a circuit diagram of the polargraph
How do you convert 220v(power socket) into 12v
How much should the voltage be
How much should the voltage be
Thank you for the answer.How can I connect everything to the power supply. Is the micro controller wireless?
Does the Arduino uno need to be connected to the computer at one end and the motor driver at the other end? Can I use a 9v battery to power everything or can I use my computer
Arduino needs a power supply. It can usually use USB power, but the pen lift servo sometimes causes it to reset.<br><br>The motor shield itself needs a power supply to drive the motors. It needs a proper mains power supply. A battery will not do. <br><br>This instructable contains links to Adafruit's descriptions about the motorshield https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-motor-shield/use-it.<br><br>sn

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Bio: Like everyone, I like making things. I'm currently a computer programmer by trade, which I adore, but I like building physical things when I ... More »
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